So often we see a coffee table in a magazine or Instagram that seems effortlessly styled yet inexplicably wows. It didn’t just happen by accident; it was more than likely carefully fashioned. Beyond being a place to pop your cuppa and remote, a coffee table can anchor the room and add elegance, which makes it worth decorating with purpose. We’ve got 3 simple steps to styling your coffee table to get that Insta-worthy aesthetic that draws the eye and creates a stunning centrepiece in your living room.
Start with the ‘Rule of 3’. Three seems to be the magical number in art and design as it creates both balance and interest. Opt for 3 objects of varying heights — 1 tall, 1 medium and 1 short — as playing with levels creates visual interest. But there’s a secret formula to the items you select. Are you ready for this? Shhhh… it’s: (1) a plant or flowers in a vase, (2) books and/or trays and (3) candles and/or coasters. Of course, you aren’t limited to strictly 3 items, but remember, less is more when it comes to making your coffee table vignettes look curated (and not cluttered!).
Typically, your plants (or flowers) in a vase will be your ‘tall’ object to add a vertical element. The taller the arrangement, the more drama it will add to a room. So, if it’s a formal space that’s mostly for show, why not go big and create a showpiece? If, however, you’re decorating a coffee table in a more functional space, make sure your vase isn’t obstructing the view. You don’t want to have to peek through a forest of foliage to see the TV or your friend’s face during a coffee catchup.
Trays serve a very important function on decorative coffee tables — they offer an organised catch-all to place those day-to-day items, from remote controls and iPhones to USBs and car keys. Coffee table books can also work in a similar way to a tray offering a surface to corral smaller bits and bobs. They also add personality, colour and culture to your space — from eco beach houses to dog photography.
The shortest items in your rule of 3, candles and coasters are also wonderfully practical. Who doesn’t love the evening ambience of flickering candlelight — particularly the scented variety? And coasters, while offering obvious surface-saving functionality, also come in an array of adorable styles to add further visual interest to your coffee table. If you have room on your table, add both!